ABOUT THE PLAY
A club soccer team comprised of nine high school girls with distinct personalities navigate big questions and wage tiny battles with the fervent exuberance of a pack of adolescent warriors and show what it takes to make a team. Playwright Sara DeLappe said she wanted to see a portrait of teenage girls “as human beings, as complicated, nuanced, very idiosyncratic people who weren’t just girlfriends, or sex objects, or manic pixie dream girls, but who were athletes and daughters, students, and scholars. These are people who are trying actively to figure out who they are in this changing world around them. These women are warriors. Most scenes take place in the warm-up circle; they’re a troop preparing for battle.”
The New York Times described the play as “rampant teen spirit in balletic unity. This pulsating production at times brings to mind a nine-headed hydra, rushing at you on a stream of exploding hormones.”
As the story unfolds over the course of the soccer season, the girls discuss Harry Potter, the Khmer Rouge, menstrual cycles, the coach’s hangover, the opposing team’s yellow jerseys. It’s a swirl of conversations, insults and gossip and topics of politics, sports, family, and friendships. The relationships change week by week but the team’s shared goal of making it to the national championship is held steadfast.
The play premiered at The Duke at 42nd Street in September 2016. It was a 2017 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, received the American Playwriting Foundation’s inaugural Relentless Award and a 2017 Obie Award for Ensemble work.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Director Karin Hendricks refers to The Wolves as an extraordinary piece of writing about a group of teenage women whose voices and points of view often go disregarded. “This is a kind of play my colleagues and I have never seen before, which is one of the reasons why it is getting so much attention in the theatrical community. It’s also a story that celebrates teenage women and focuses on their relationships with each other as opposed to focusing on their relationships with men. These characters are defined by their interests and strengths- not by their relationships with men.” Even though the play does not specifically discuss women’s equity, she considers it a feminist play because the young women are valued for their physical strength, emotional strength, and their intellectual strength.
Although playing soccer is what brings these ladies together, The Wolves is not a story about sports. The audience is invited to take a special glimpse into the world of these teenage women as they face issues of envy, kindness, activism, sexual awakening, self-discovery, issues of self-loathing, social faux pas, eating disorders, mental health, rebellion, and growth. “What a gift for our audience of young women who will identify with these characters, and what a gift for everyone else who will finally get a chance to have a peek into this select circle,” remarked Hendricks, who emphasized how privileged she feels to be able to share this production with the Central Coast. “Sarah DeLappe’s script has stayed really authentic to what happens when nine teenage girls with distinct personalities come together, there’s going to be chat – all over the place”.
Hendricks is taking an authentic and realistic approach with this production through scene work and design elements. As part of the scenic design, the audience will experience the feeling of entering a multi-functional air dome as they step into the theatre and immediately feel AstroTurf beneath their feet.
Further supporting the authenticity of this production, the cast of The Wolves has been working diligently on their soccer skills. In December, the nine actresses were invited to partake in a soccer clinic with the Allan Hancock College Bulldogs women’s soccer team. Actresses and athletes worked side-by-side on soccer techniques, including stretches and various drills. Hendricks noticed a camaraderie instantly blossom.
“These young women, who had just met each other through kicking around balls and weaving in and out of orange cones, seemed to suddenly become great friends and allies which is something integral to The Wolves. I’m thrilled to be collaborating with the AHC soccer team. What we learned from that clinic will absolutely inspire the way we approach staging our production, and we plan to stay connected to the Hancock players throughout the process to ensure the soccer work remains impeccably accurate.”
Asked what she hoped the audience take away would be, “I would like our audiences to walk away feeling empowered.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sarah DeLappe’s play The Wolves (Pulitzer Prize finalist; Lortel, Outer Critics Circle nominations for Best Play/Emerging Playwright; Relentless Award, Sky Cooper New American Play Prize; Susan Smith Blackburn and Yale Prize finalist) premiered at The Playwrights Realm, following an engagement with New York Stage and Film, and development with Clubbed Thumb and Lincoln Center Theater. Fellowships and developmental support include The MacDowell Colony, The Ground Floor, LCT3 Playwright in Residence, Ars Nova Play Group, Page One Fellowship at The Playwrights Realm, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and Sitka Fellows Program. MFA: Brooklyn College.